What vow was Paul adhering to when he had his hair cut?


Acts 18:18

AMP - 18 Afterward Paul remained many days longer, and then told the brethren farewell and sailed for Syria; and he was accompanied by Priscilla and Aquila. At Cenchreae he [Paul] cut his hair, for he had made a vow.

Clarify Share Report Asked January 14 2014 Stringio Bren Stewart

For follow-up discussion and general commentary on the topic. Comments are sorted chronologically.

10603489 717858044916978 5884241881599041890 n David Knight

According to Matthew Henry's commentary: The cutting of hair according to Nazarite vow was those that lived in Judea were, in such a case, bound to do it at the temple: but those who lived in other countries might do it in other places. The Nazarite’s head was to be shaved when either his consecration was accidentally polluted, in which case he must begin again, or when the days of his separation were fulfilled (Num. 6:9 Num. 13:18 ), which, we suppose, was the case here. I tend to agree with Henry's analysis.

July 19 2014 Report

Ari Ariel HaNaviy

Paul taking a Nazarite vow according to Num chapter 6 is all well and good. The "pink elephant in the room" is WHY would he do this post-resurrection? Didn't sacrifices come to an end in Jesus?

September 14 2015 Report

Mini Dan Larsen

Hello Ariel, sacrifices did not "come to an end in Jesus". Jesus commands sacrifices (Mt.5:24). Jesus was angry when the religious establishment prevented people (from the nations) to take part in sacrifices (citing Is. 56 at Mk.11:17) Tens of thousands of 1st-century church members were zealous for things including sacrifices (Ac.21:20).
Paul condoned sacrifices (Ac.21:21-24) to prove he obeyed things including sacrifices. Some Christians were animal-sacrificing priests (Ac.6:7).

Yes, sacrifices are not presently performed.
Moses says they will return: Dt.30:1-8
Ezekiel says they will return: Eze. 40-47
Malachi says they will return: Mal.3
Isaiah says they will return: Is. 66
Jeremiah says they will return: Jer.33
Zechariah says they will return: Zec. 14

So the "pink elephant in the room" is: Why do we not teach these Biblical facts in our churches today? Hope that helps!

9 days ago Report

Profile pic Mark Vestal

Biblical truths for Israel and truths for the church, the body of Christ, are to be recognized as separate truths for separate groups (2 Tim 2:15). Paul NEVER condones, suggests, or commands sacrifices for the church. He actially regards all previous religious acts of righteousness as being "dung" (Phil 3:8), and that they now only make the completed work of Christ on the cross for us "of none effect" (1 Cor 1:17).

Col 2:9-17
"For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.
10 And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:
11 In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:
12 Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.
13 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;
14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;
15 And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it."
16 Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:
17 Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ."

Trust in Christ's sacrifice

9 days ago Report

Mini Dan Larsen

Hi Mark,
"Paul NEVER condones sacrifices for the church."

My response: I disagree. Paul condoned a Nazirite vow (Ac.21:21-24) to prove he obeyed Torah. Paul said you should imitate him (1Cor.11:1;Php3:17;4:9). Thus, Paul condones sacrifices (and Torah, in general) for all believers.

Again, Paul applies all Scripture (thus including Torah, 2Ti.3:16) to all believers (2Ti.3:16).

The "dung" is Torah-without-Christ. That's why Paul requires Torah AND Christ TOGETHER.

For example: LAW (2Ti.3:16) and FAITH (Rom.5:1)
LAW (1Cor.7:19) and FAITH (2Cor.5:7).
LAW (Gal.3:11) and FAITH (given Hab.2:4+Ps.119:30,86,134).
LAW (Dt.30:14) and FAITH (Rom.10:8 which applies Dt. 30:14 to us).

The "of none effect" is if you rely upon works-without-faith. But works-without-faith is, of course bad.

That's why Paul teaches BOTH: Faith AND works (Eph.2:8-9). Just like Abraham had faith AND works. Remember: we are "justified by works" and "not by faith alone" (Jas.2:24).

Paul said we who do the law will be justified (Rom.2:13).

Trust in Christ's sacrifice to pay the price we could NEVER pay for ourselves.

And OBEY Christ who told us to obey the Law:

After all, the New Covenant (inaugurated by Christ's blood) is given as TORAH (Jer.31:33;Heb.8:10;10:16).

So why would you disobey the very Torah of the New Covenant?

Blessings to you.

8 days ago Report

Profile pic Mark Vestal

Thanks Dan,

We're polar opposite here, but peace and grace to you as well!

Galatians 2:16
"Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified."

8 days ago Report

Mini Dan Larsen

Hey there!
Yes, it does appear we are opposites! But if we both accept Scripture, then we should both come to agreement.

We have 3 options:
1. Justified by works-without-faith.
2. Justified by faith-without-works.
3. Justified by works AND faith (both, together).

And the passage you cited (Gal.2:16) obviously is a rejection of 1.
And, James 2:20 obviously is a rejection of 2.

"Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless?" (Jas.2:20) This is a rejection of 2.

So there is only one more option: 3

After all, James 2:24 explicitly states: "You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone." This is a clear and explicit support for option #3.

So, do you reject James 2:24?


7 days ago Report

Profile pic Mark Vestal

I am not a part of "the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad" (Jam 1:1). Paul is "the apostle of the Gentiles" (Rom 11:13). We (Gentiles) are to "follow" Paul (1 Cor 4:16, 1 Cor 11:1). So, a resounding YES! I reject James 2:24 as being a requirement for MY justification.

Rather, I accept Jesus Christ as being my righteousness, as I am not capable of achieving the required level of it to be in the presence of God on my own.

Paul is trying to tell us that it is no longer about our righteousness, it is about God's righteousness, and it being imputed to us when we have this faith in Jesus Christ (Rom 4:11-24). Are you attempting to establish your own self-righteousness for your justification, and failing to submit to God's righteousness (Rom 10:3)? We are to have zero confidence in our flesh being able to do this (Phil 3:3). Jesus Christ was this for us.

Not only do we not follow Peter, James or John, we also do not follow Christ's earthly ministry to Israel. We follow Christ's heavenly ministry as given to Paul:

2 Cor 5:16
"Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more."

Do you believe your salvation is dependent upon your own self-righteous works, or do you thank God for offering you Jesus Christ as your savior from having to perform the required justifiable life on your own (Eph 2:8-9)?

We work FROM salvation, not for it.

7 days ago Report

Profile pic Mark Vestal

Gifted salvation is w/o works.

Rom 3:21 "But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;"

Rom 4:4-5 "Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.
5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness."

Rom 7:6 "But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter."

Gal 4:21 "Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law?"

Rom 4:13-16 "For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.
14 For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect:
15 Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression.
16 Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all,"

Gal 5:4-6 "Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.
5 For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.
6 For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love."

7 days ago Report

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